The mitochondrial genome of the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Gigaspora margarita reveals two unsuspected trans-splicing events of group I introns


Author for correspondence:
Nicolas Corradi
Tel: +1 613 562 5800, ext 6563


  • Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are ubiquitous organisms that benefit ecosystems through the establishment of an association with the roots of most plants: the mycorrhizal symbiosis. Despite their ecological importance, however, these fungi have been poorly studied at the genome level.
  • In this study, total DNA from the AMF Gigaspora margarita was subjected to a combination of 454 and Illumina sequencing, and the resulting reads were used to assemble its mitochondrial genome de novo. This genome was annotated and compared with those of other relatives to better comprehend the evolution of the AMF lineage.
  • The mitochondrial genome of G. margarita is unique in many ways, exhibiting a large size (97 kbp) and elevated GC content (45%). This genome also harbors molecular events that were previously unknown to occur in fungal mitochondrial genomes, including trans-splicing of group I introns from two different genes coding for the first subunit of the cytochrome oxidase and for the small subunit of the rRNA.
  • This study reports the second published genome from an AMF organelle, resulting in relevant DNA sequence information from this poorly studied fungal group, and providing new insights into the frequency, origin and evolution of trans-spliced group I introns found across the mitochondrial genomes of distantly related organisms.